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Wednesday, August 14, 2013



  • Fall residence spaces still available
  • Attracting student talent
  • Tales of a Teacher: Steve Furino


  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs


Fall residence spaces still available

by Sabrina Hutchison, Housing and Residences.

A stuffed monkey wearing a mortarboard hat and a residence button.Waterloo Residences has some great news for fall 2013 incoming students. Due to unexpected cancellations, we will have spaces available in our residence communities for the fall!

The application for these spaces will be available on our website at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 20. Spaces will be given on a first-come, first-served basis, depending on the type available (i.e. first-year, upper-year, male, female, etc.).

If you are fortunate enough to interact with incoming students, please direct to our website for more information. You can help students get their second chance at experiencing all of the support and fun of rez this fall!


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Attracting student talent: Employer Information Sessions fit the bill

By: Shannon Tiggert

Photo Caption: The set-up for the StarCraft tournament info session, held in South Campus Hall

Employer information (info) sessions are used as a strategic way, here on campus, by organizations to strengthen their relationships with Waterloo students.  Students can pick up invaluable knowledge about a variety of potential employers while networking with professionals from various fields. For their part, employers have the opportunity to meet our students in a setting not as formal as an interview. Why would employers bother to spend the extra time doing this? These sessions let them showcase their company to students before interviews really kick off and attract the type of students they want for their open positions.

CECA co-ordinates these sessions, liaising with the employers and scheduling the sessions in our calendar. We also partner with other departments on campus (such as AV and UW Catering) to give the sessions the professional edge employers are looking for and students appreciate. While mainly congregated in the Tatham Centre and the DC Fishbowl, info sessions are booked into any room on campus that suits the employers’ needs.

Employers are enthusiastic about how we run info sessions and the resources we provide them.  One recruiter from Facebook said that “Information sessions are a key recruiting tool in how we find candidates on campus.  It gives us an opportunity to meet with students face-to-face, which is invaluable for not only the company but students as well.” Waterloo students tend to be enthusiastic and eager to learn about what different organizations have to offer them, making info sessions the ideal place for them to get started on their job search.

Information sessions run the gamut from formal presentations, to the Facebook 24 Hour Hackathon, to informal meet-and-greets over nachos at the Bombshelter pub. Recently, one of our largest employers held a full-day StarCraft tournament. It was complete with massive screens on which students watched the games and gave the students a healthy dose of fun competition. Employers have been upping their game lately, creating exciting opportunities for students to learn about companies they’d like to work for before they begin their interviews.

The first month of every term is usually the busiest for employer information sessions because most employers like to meet students before the main round of interviews with September booked the heaviest. A total of 3446 students attended information sessions last year. The numbers have been steadily increasing over the past few years. In 2012, 287 info sessions were held, with 84 in September alone.  Already, 78 information sessions are scheduled for September 2013 at over 9 locations across campus.

Get ready – the new season of info sessions is only a few weeks away. See the full schedule on our calendar.

Last week’s poll: 85% of you guessed correctly! Accounting & Financial Management is a program in the Arts faculty. Congratulations to poll winner Kim Gingerich, Liberal Arts student.

This week’s poll: How many info sessions were held in 2012? Take a guess and enter to win a water bottle!


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Tales of a Teacher: Steve Furino

by Victoria Faraci. This is the second of three Centre for Teaching Excellence Teacher Stories. The full version appears on the CTE website.

What are the chances of strolling through the Peter Russell Rock Garden in front of the Math building and happening upon a student who not only knows Dr. Steve Furino, but knows him well enough to sing his praises? Apparently, pretty high. Yerzhan Kenzhegaliyev, pictured above, is a fourth-year student studying math and currently enrolled in Furino’s CO 480 class. This course uses a storytelling approach to provide historical context for mathematics. Currently, it boasts a 90% attendance rate. Kenzhegaliyev is particularly struck with his math instructor’s “knowledge outside of Mathematics” and the way that Furino brings this into the classroom. “His lectures are actually fun!” he says.

Furino is a seasoned instructor, having taught since 1981, first as a high school teacher, and now as a lecturer at Waterloo. Beyond teaching, Furino also contributes – as part of his faculty’s Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing – to the internationally recognized math contests that Waterloo coordinates for elementary and high school students.

Throughout his diverse teaching career, from high school to university, Canada to overseas, Furino stresses that “we teach by character as much as we teach by content. Who we are matters often much more than what we teach.” He notes that it is important for math students to be able to do a “proof,” but when they get into the workplace, that ability might not be their most important skill. At that point, it will be the character of his students that will truly matter. Although fostering an environment in the classroom where students learn effectively is important to Furino, he is also well-known for providing a comfortable, supportive environment outside of the classroom for those requiring assistance during his office hours.

Media El Tayara, a 3A student in Mathematical Studies, speaks fondly of Furino’s classroom teaching, but it is his unwavering support outside of the classroom that has kept her returning to his office hours, even though she is no longer one of his students. Yerzhan Kenzhegaliyev is also eager to share the positive experiences he had meeting with Furino during his office hours. Furino modestly suggests that when it comes to impacting a student’s attitudes, an instructor’s “leverage is small”; however, his devoted following of students might suggest otherwise. El Tayara adds that Furino doesn’t seem to consider teaching a mere “job,” suggesting that it seems to be both Furino’s passion and calling.

In the classroom, Furino constantly pushes himself to try new things and to question the methods of conventional teaching. “I’ve never been satisfied with lectures… I’ve always thought that there was a better way to do it, so I started experimenting early on.” As a recent example, Furino talks about assisting with the curriculum change that took place in the Faculty of Mathematics in 2011. From this, a new online version of a course emerged: MATH 135, a first-year core course for Honours students. “On a technical side,” Furino says, “there are some things that we can do better online than in class.” As an example, he cites providing feedback to students: online courses allow instructors to make the feedback cycle almost instantaneous.

Along with this shift to online courses, Furino plans to experiment with a flipped classroom model for MATH 135 in the fall semester. Flipping a classroom means that students acquire course content outside of class time through online tutorials, so that class time can be devoted to active learning activities. Furino recognizes that many students might initially resist these changes in pedagogy. “The bulk of students,” he says, “will say that teaching is where someone stands at the front of the room and delivers content through a lecture, and if there is no lecturing, then the instructor is not doing his or her job.” But lecturing, Furino counters, should not always be equated with learning. Furino’s goal for the flipped classroom is to emphasize learning. The teaching component comes not from lectures, but from the “judicious selection of problems, some encouragement, and some duress when necessary.”

Read the full story on the Centre for Teaching Excellence's website.


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Quest Down This Weekend

Quest, the university's student information system, will be going down starting at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, August 16 until 8:30 a.m. on Monday, August 19, according to a message from Information Systems & Technology (IST).

During the downtime, Quest will be updated with the latest release of its software and new features will be incorporated.

Link of the day

Navajo Code Talkers Day

When and where

Spring Term Examination Period, Tuesday, August 6 to Saturday, August 17.

Ontario Mennonite Music Camp
, Sunday, August 11 to Friday, August 23, Conrad Grebel University College. Details.

Quantum Cryptography School for Young Students, Monday, August 12 to Friday, August 16, Institute for Quantum Computing. Details.

Wednesday Night Discussion Group, Wednesday, August 14, 7:15 p.m., MC 5136. Details.

Canadian-American-Mexican (CAM) Graduate Student Physics Conference, Thursday, August 15 to Sunday, August 18. Details.

"Gather by the Avon" book launch, Thursday, August 15, 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Stratford Campus room 1104. Details.

Int'l Spouses Summer Potluck Picnic, Friday, August 16, Waterloo Park. Details.

Google+ Hangout, "Gamification Design with Stephen Anderson, Friday, August 16, 12:00 p.m. Details.

Tour For Kids 1-Day Cycling Tour, Saturday, August 17, 7:00 a.m., Ron Eydt Village. Details.

Faculty of Science Public Lecture featuring Miguel Alcubierre, "Faster than the Speed of Light," Saturday, August 17, 3:00 p.m., M3 1006. Details.

Ontario Mennonite Music Camp 30th Anniversary Reunion, Sunday, August 18, 9:00 a.m., Conrad Grebel University College. Details.

Unofficial Grades begin to appear in Quest, Monday, August 19.

Centre for Teaching Excellence presents Instructional Skills Workshop, Tuesday, August 20 to Friday, August 23, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Details.

UWRC Book Club featuring Sebastian Barry's "The Secret Scripture," Wednesday, August 21, 12:00 p.m., LIB 407.

Wednesday Night Discussion Group, Wednesday, August 21, 7:15 p.m., MC 5136. Details.

Co-operative Work Term ends, Friday, August 23.

Winfield Fretz Bowtie Gala, Friday, August 23, 6:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Dining Hall. Details.

Grebel Sixties Era Reunion Brunch, Saturday, August 24, 10:30 a.m., Conrad Grebel dining hall. Details.

Conrad Grebel Decade Era Gatherings and Academic Reunions, Saturday, August 24, 2:00 p.m. Conrad Grebel University College. Details.

Conrad Grebel 50th Anniversary Reunion Service, Sunday, August 25, 10:30 a.m., Theatre of the Arts. Details.

Deadline to become "Fees Arranged" for Fall 2013 term, Monday, August 26. Details.

UWSA Miniature Golf Social & BBQ on Thursday, August 29, 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Bingemans. Details.

Labour Day holiday, Monday, September 2, most university buildings and services closed.

Orientation Week, Monday, September 2 to Saturday, September 7.

Retirement event for Kevin Stewart, Wednesday, September 4, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Commissary Building. RSVP to Sheila Hurley by email or at extension 33587.

Safety Office Open House, Wednesday, September 4, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Commisary Building.

ELPE examinations, Wednesday, September 4 and Thursday, September 5, Physical Activities Complex.

Federation of Students Welcome Week, Monday, September 9 to Friday, September 13.

Lectures begin, Monday, September 9.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department, viewable through myHRinfo:

  • Job id# 2212 – Research Administrative Assistant – Chemical Engineering – USG 6
  • Job id# 2151 – Administrative Co-ordinator - Arts Graduate and Research – Dean of Arts – USG7
  • Job id# 2219 – Program Coordinator, Grad and Postdoctoral Programs – Centre for Teaching Excellence – USG 5
  • Job id# 2210 – International Education & Immigration Advisor – Student Success Office – USG 7
  • Job id# 2214 – Marketing Coordinator – Coop Education & Career Action – USG 7
  • Job id# 2220 – Library Associate, Serials and Standing Orders – Library – USG 7
  • Job id# 2216 – Educational Research Associate – School of Pharmacy – USG 9

Secondment opportunity, viewable on myCareer@uWaterloo

  • Service Representative – Centre for Career Action  - USG 4/5

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